[b-hebrew] Prophetic Perfect?

Lisbeth S. Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Tue May 18 17:39:33 EDT 2004

Dear Rolf,
Isaiah 8:23ff has to do with the relief experienced
when Tiglath-Pileser III took whatever he wanted,
but Judah was spared.
I don't agree that the default supposition of a 
prophetic text should be that he's talking about
the future. That is not my view of prophecy at all.
Prophets worked for the king, they were paid by
the kings (Isaiah and Jeremiah at least), and gave
them advice about how to run their kingdoms. 
They were dealing with the here and now. My default
is that the KATAV and the VAYKTOV is past. The plain
sense is revealed when these are translated as simple
past (or past perfective). To use a future you'd have to
show that the future was intended if as was said, you
read the passage in a newspaper.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org 
> [mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of 
> furuli at online.no
> Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2004 4:52 PM
> To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: RE: [b-hebrew] Prophetic Perfect?
> Dear Liz,
> If I were to make a  translation of Isaiah 9:1,5, I had to make up my
> mind: is this a prophecy or is it narrative past? Bible 
> translation is interpretation, that is unavoidable! I did not 
> answer Julie from that perspective, i.e. I did not take a  
> standpoint as to whether these words refer to the past or the 
> future, but I responded to the grammatical work that she 
> quoted, which viewed these verses as future. So my point was: 
> this grammar says that the verses are "prophetic perfect," 
> but if it applies them to the future, how can the authors 
> know that it is not simple future? How can the authors know 
> the mind of the prophet if this is not stated? My aim was to 
> show that the term "prophetic perfect" was suspicious.
> We agree that we should  not translate the OT in the light of 
> the NT, but my personal view is that Is 9 is a message about 
> the future -this is the default interpretation of the words 
> of a prophet (cf. 9:7) - but of course, there may be past, 
> perfect or present reference in a prophet's words as well.  I 
> am open for arguments to the contrary, but an important point 
> I want to put across is this: too many accounts have been 
> interpreted as past narrative on the basis of a faulty 
> understanding of QATAL (it is either past tense or completed 
> or complete), and on a faulty understanding of WAYYIQTOL (it 
> is past tense, or completed, or complete).
> Best regards
> Rolf
> Rolf Furuli
> University of Oslo
> >  >
> >>    The perfective perfect notion was originally built on the  view 
> >> that QATAL was past tense and /or signalled completed  
> acts. Thus, it 
> >> contradicted fundamental grammatical thoughts  to have hundreds of 
> >> QATALs with simple future reference. So,  in order to save the 
> >> grammar
> >>  - but without any data - the psychological explanation 
> was  invented 
> >> that the action was completed in the mind of the  prophet. 
> Please ask 
> >> your constructor if he or she has any
> >>  *data* showing that the QATALs of Isaiah 9:1,5 are not 
> just  simple 
> >> futures.
> >Dear Rolf,
> >What evidence could you possibly bring to show that these 
> are not just 
> >simple narrative pasts?
> >Liz Fried
> >A2
> >
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